Former Minnesota police officer sentenced in George Floyd case

Former officer J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced today through a video link from an Ohio federal prison.

A local resident takes a selfie in front of a mural of George Floyd after the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, found guilty of the death of George Floyd, at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, April 20, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)
A local resident takes a selfie in front of a mural of George Floyd after the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, found guilty of the death of George Floyd, at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, April 20, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)

A former Minneapolis police officer on Friday was sentenced to 3-1/2 years in prison for his involvement in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed when a fellow police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes in May 2020.

J. Alexander Kueng, who pleaded guilty in October to one count of aiding and abetting manslaughter, appeared for the sentencing hearing in Hennepin County District Court through a video link from a federal prison in Ohio.

Kueng was one of four officers who were called to a Minneapolis grocery store on May 25, 2020, and tried to take Floyd into custody on suspicion that he used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

During the encounter, the senior officer on the scene, Derek Chauvin, pinned the handcuffed Floyd's neck to the ground with a knee, causing his death.

Kueng, 29, and fellow officer Thomas Lane helped Chauvin restrain Floyd, while another officer, Tou Thao, kept bystanders from approaching the scene.

A person raises his fist at a memorial during a Celebration of Life festival in honor of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police one year ago, at George Floyd Square in south Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, May 25, 2021. (credit: ERIC MILLER/REUTERS)A person raises his fist at a memorial during a Celebration of Life festival in honor of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police one year ago, at George Floyd Square in south Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, May 25, 2021. (credit: ERIC MILLER/REUTERS)

George Floyd's death created waves throughout the country

Demonstrations and, at times, riots erupted across Minneapolis after the incident. A video of the incident circulating on social media helped spark demonstrations against police brutality and racism across the nation and in large cities around the globe.

Chauvin was convicted of murder in a state trial and sentenced to 22-1/2 years. He also pleaded guilty to related federal charges and is serving a federal sentence of 21 years concurrently.

The three other officers were convicted in federal court of depriving Floyd of his civil rights and sentenced in July to between 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 years in prison.

Kueng's plea agreement on the state charge includes a sentence of 3-1/2 years to be served concurrently with his three-year federal sentence, a spokesperson for Hennepin County District Court said in October. Lane accepted a similar plea deal in May.

Thao, who rejected a comparable agreement in August, has decided to waive his right to a jury trial. Instead, a state judge will determine his guilt based on evidence submitted jointly by prosecutors and the defense.